Another Summit in the Bag

Great times with great people, here’s a recap of some of the best moments for me from Atlassian Summit 2015.
Ecosystem Day: It was great to get to participate in this for the first time. The morning was a bit of a whirlwind as we got to preview quite a bit of the Atlassian content that would follow over the next few days, but then things settled down and there were 3 tracks we could participate in.
I was able to attend the Technical Track with my cohort Mike March. There were 3 main topics here and I won’t go into too much detail, but I’ll link to the actual Summit Content in case you missed the show.

  • Jira7: Obviously this was a massive release shortly before Summit kicked off and we were quickly able to settle the remaining mysteries.
  • Portfolio2.0: Well, I finally feel comfortable changing my position here. Those of you that do know me know that I am adamantly against over planning and planning for planning’s sake. I felt that for many/most users Portfolio was sort of stuck somewhere in that zone. That has changed. As they went through the main upcoming features, it was almost like they were working off my list of beefs… AWE*SOME! I’m looking forward to re-engaging with the product (and I’m really hoping the fourth time’s the charm, ‘cause I’ve been in 3-strikes-and-you-are-out for awhile now).
  • Connect API/HipChat: This was unbelievably great. The specifics around HipChat… well, I’m a bit speechless. Folks, I know there are lots of options out there, and some of them even don’t suck, but you really should give HipChat some due diligence, whether you previously have or not. On Atlassian Connect, just wait. This appears poised to really shake up the platform, I’ll be waiting!
We were a little worried about our booth location, but WOW it really ended up being about the best spot we could’ve asked for (another great job to our Marketing Team!). Those of you that made it know the Corridor of Hell experience really made movement difficult amongst the wings. Hey, I get it. I didn’t like it, but I don’t know that it could have been anticipated.
I hope you all made it over to the booth, enjoyed the videos and the swag! Speaking of swag, I forgot to go (steal) claim my Jira Service Desk Lounge pillow! Darn it… That’s OK, I got a new sticker for my car, laptop, and daughter. Not mention a great mini-project for a holiday blog post 🙂

Of what I saw, here are my favorites:

Favorite Session: Documentation Domination: How to Build a Knowledge Sharing Culture in 4 Easy Steps
They get it. Totally get it. If you want to use these tools properly, you need to drive change in the culture around it, and sometimes that means you need to be a Wiktator! I used to get called far worse than that, so I’m borrowing their phrase.

Favorite Keynote: Day 2 started with back to back keynotes that were both really solid, unfortunately this was right at the start of Day 2 and well… the end of Day 1 was Summit Bash, so let’s just say attendance was a little lighter than the prior session. It was a close decision for me, but I’ve always been a fan of the underdog and Didier got the short straw with his opening slot, so “Go IT Teams!”

Favorite Client Moment: Simultaneously making the same Dingo joke with a client during the Jira for Business keynote. Thank you all for coming! I hope we’ll see you again next year. I love that we had sooooo many clients out this year, you folks
are all the best! Glad to see a great turnout of great people engaged in the ecosystem.

Favorite Other: So… it’s close, but Bash narrowly edges ShipIT (maybe if Nikki N had won I would change my mind). Bash was at the Exploratorium which is one of my favorite parts of San Francisco and featured a heavy dose of AWESOMENESS (ummm short rib sundae? OMG!!!; Daft Punk? Nice!; Sierra Nevada and Lagunitas? 2 of my favorites; And of course a hearty shot of SCIENCE!!!)

Favorite Slide: “The only difference between science and screwing around is when you write it down,” Alexander Jason, via Adam Savage of Mythbusters. Runner Up: All the ones with Culture/People mentioned prominently.

Favorite Team Moment: Thursday night dinner at The Stinking Rose. It was chill, delicious, and just a great time to appreciate all the effort that went into making the week so successful. Runner Up: Cracking people up while sharing Bread Pudding with Andrew Yarrow.

I want to leave you with this folks. You all saw a lot. I am not going to say that all of it was best practice. There were some very specific examples where you could tell that the presenters HAD to make some sacrifices to appease other elements in their org. If you want to take on a seriously complicated undertaking (and nail it), at least engage an Expert (I know some guys) to help with the requirements gathering/design. Pick a partner, what you see isn’t always what you should model. Right? I’m looking at you Real Housewives, Kardashians, The Bachelor etc…

If you were there, or you spend any time reviewing the presentations, you are going to see a theme emerge.

Culture > Tool.

Sometimes you have to take a baby step and do things you don’t want to do in order to bring your team along for the ride. The danger comes when you don’t make that clear and exceptions become (or continue to be) the norm. If you find yourself in this situation, make sure you have a solid glide path to a best practice based implementation. Some of those workflows made me twitch a bit more than usual.

I hope to see you next year in San Jose!